Medical Abortion by Pill (RU486) FAQs

What is a medical abortion?
Medical abortion is also called the “abortion pill,” “early option pill,” “non-surgical abortion” and “RU486.” Mifeprex is the brand name of the first FDA-approved abortion pill for ending early pregnancy. It is used in combination with another medication—Misoprostol—and together they work to end an early pregnancy. The abortion pill can be taken only up through the first 8 weeks of pregnancy.

Who can have a medical abortion?
To be a candidate for the abortion pill, you must:

  • Be under 9-weeks pregnant
  • Live within a one-hour drive of an emergency room
  • Be sure of your abortion decision
  • Be able to swallow pills
  • Have access to a phone and be able to receive phone calls from us
  • Have immediate and reliable access to a car in case of an emergency
  • Commit to return for your follow-up appointment in 14 days
  • Agree to have a surgical abortion if the medical abortion fails.

How does it work?
Many women say the abortion pill is a similar experience to a miscarriage. You will probably feel strong cramps and have heavy bleeding and clotting for 9–16 days. Most women start to feel better each day after the abortion. Mifiprex will be administered on the day of your appointment. Most women will pass the pregnancy within 2 – 24 hours after taking the misoprostol tablets. The medication may not be as effective if they’re taken too early after instructed or too late. You can start a birth control method as soon as your pregnancy ends, since you can become pregnant again soon after.

Why choose the abortion pill?
Having the option to end a pregnancy with the abortion pill is an appealing option for some women because they feel it’s private, more natural and less invasive than the surgical procedure. No shots or anesthesia are involved. However, taking the abortion pill is a process that requires a greater level of participation from you, the patient. You should consider factors beforehand such as family situation, time, location and emotions for a positive outcome.

Can there be complications?
The risk of serious complications for the medical abortion is very low. Excessive bleeding, severe pain, fever, vomiting and incomplete abortion (some of the fetal tissue remaining in the uterus) account for most of complications.

What is the follow-up care?

The final step for those who use the abortion pill is to return to our office 14 days later for a follow-up sonogram and lab tests. There is no additional fee for this appointment. It is important to check that the pregnancy has ended because, if it has not ended, there is a chance that pregnancy will result in birth defects. A few women who take the abortion pill will need a surgical procedure to end the pregnancy or to stop heavy bleeding.